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Onsite Generation: A Reminder [was: Battery Maint in LEC equipment]

  • From: Frank Coluccio
  • Date: Tue Jun 07 20:24:40 2005

There's been much said here and over in the Cybertelecom list recently about
battery provisions by telcos and cable operators, but relatively little has been
mentioned about onsite generation. I sometimes point my staff and clients to the
messages that were posted here in NANOG, including those of my own, immediately
following the attacks of September 11th and lasting into the next month or two.
Many here will recall that at that time many hubs and enterprises alike in the
downtown area of Manhattan, including the area's Internet exchanges and colos,
received a first-hand lesson on the need to maintain preparedness with
functioning generators, including fuel and spare parts. Not to mention the need
to modify air intakes and exhausts for a new form of threat: Airborne Debris.


On Tue Jun  7 15:34 , Jerry Pasker  sent:

>Even though it is fed with N+1 UPS power, Qwest put N+1 rectifiers & 
>batteries for their fiber cabinet they installed for me a few years 
>ago.  At the time, batteries were required no matter what, and they 
>say they will replace them every 5 years.  A little-town independent 
>telco however, refused to even install a data center fiber shelf 
>unless I provided them with DC power.  It just seems to depend on the 
>whim of the telco.
>As prices fall, so does level of service.  NANOGers all know 
>providing uninterruptible power in the current evolving networks is 
>hard as the communications infrastructure continues to decentralize. 
>Providing non stop power for long term power failures with generators 
>scattered all over the place is insanely hard.  Keeping them running 
>during a widespread 'event' is even harder.  Everyone wants (expects) 
>"always on" dial tone.  And everyone wants cheap calling and cheep 
>bandwidth.  Batteries, generators, and their maintenance/operation 
>are expensive.  A resilient built network is much more expensive than 
>a non resilient one.  Eventually the public will start to realize 
>this, and start to demand laws to maintain certain minimum levels of 
>service.  It won't happen until some large disaster, or touching news 
>story about some preventable tragedy brings it in front of the 
>public.  People will have to die for this trend to change.
>The non-reliable VOIP as a lifeline, even if it's not intended as 
>one, is the tip of this iceberg.
>(by the way, like many other forms of regulation, the same goes for 
>internet regulation.... if some shady network somewhere ever turns 
>out to be the root cause of some incident where a number of deaths 
>occur, regulation will soon follow)
>Aside from human error, right now the weakest link in the net is the 
>grid, and that is a link that isn't apparently getting any stronger.